The Greenback cutthroat trout, which was considered extinct for over 100 years, has been brought back to Colorado. The fish species was thought to be extinct in the 1930s, due to overfishing and mining pollution among other causes. According to Biologists from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), the trout species are naturally reproducing again.
In 2012, scientists discovered a small group of pure breed Greenback cutthroat trout near Bear Creek, central Colorado. This is when efforts to repopulate the species started. Every year, biologists visited the area to collect eggs and spread them to other regions for safe hatching. Over the years, the group of Biologists from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife has helped the population grow to stability.
According to biologists, the species is now recovering naturally, having attained sufficient mature numbers to facilitate reproduction. Some of the naturally reproducing fish have been documented in Herman Gulch, Colorado in 2016.
“The long-term survival and natural reproduction of the greenbacks discovered is a major milestone for our recovery efforts and a huge win for conservation,” the CPW statement read.
The biologists now say that this success does not mark the end of their efforts. They will continue to breed the eggs and spread the species to other locations to increase its population.
“Our hatchery staff along with our federal hatchery partners overcame immense obstacles to be able to replicate the species in captivity,” said Josh Nehring, CPW’s assistant aquatic section manager. “Now to see them on the landscape in their native habitat replicating on their own is a huge sense of accomplishment for everyone involved.”
Lead image via Sierra Fish